Written by: Don Cheng
Photography by: Don Cheng
I averaged 14.0L per hundred. I averaged 14.0L per hundred. I averaged 14.0 litres!? Full disclosure: it’s not the cars fault. Well, at least not entirely – I’ll get to that in a moment. Chrysler rates the 2016 200S AWD at an average of 10.8 L/100km, figures that aren’t all that bad for a naturally aspirated V6. While the S moniker tacked on the end might conjure images of road hugging coupes, the reality is a lot more pedestrian.
The 200S represents Chrysler’s offering in the mid-size sedan segment – the bread and butter of many manufacturers. Set forth from birth to compete against cars like the Chevrolet Malibu and the Toyota Camry, you can only imagine where “driving dynamics” sat on the list of priorities for the new 200S (hint: it’s far down at the bottom). That’s not a knock on mid-size sedans mind you. The reality is that a sporty sedan isn’t on the top of every buyer’s list. With that in mind, automakers know that sometimes, it pays to play it safe.
Despite the ho-hum competitive landscape, Chrysler thinks they have found the winning formula. With a class-leading 3.6L Pentastar V6, all-wheel drive, and a 9-speed automatic, the new 200S offers a little bit of something for everyone’s shopping list. Which is saying a lot, since the preceding 200 offered a whole lotta’ nothing except looking pretty on a rental fleet – they picked those up in droves.
Outside, the 200S remains largely unchanged for 2016. It’s a new design that was introduced in 2015 and still looks the business when stacked up against the competition. My tester came in what Chrysler calls Granite Crystal Metallic – but what the rest of the world calls grey.
Optioned with the Mopar exterior body kit ($1,395), the 200S comes kitted with a custom rear diffuser, front lip spoiler, and side sills. If the Mopar kit was a tuxedo on the already handsome 200S, then the optional 19-inch hyper-black wheels ($495) serves as a pair of patent leather shoes that completes the ensemble – it just looks right.
The cabin of the 200S is a well thought out and ergonomic affair. The dial operated gear selector feels nice and weighted under the hand and offers a satisfying click when cycling through. Mounted on a slant with the climate controls (like a flying buttress), the entire set-up feels futuristic; as if you’re operating a space ship, or you’re Avicii playing a sold out concert on your digital mixer (hey, what you do in the privacy of your own car is your business, we won’t judge).
Chrysler’s climate control and gear selector solution is actually pretty genius. It frees up a lot of space behind for passengers to store a whole assortment of tablets, sunglasses, or other gizmos. Better yet, it features a pass through hole that’s connected to the rest of the center console for charging cables. Speaking of which, there are a set of sliding cup holders allowing occupants two ways to access the cavern underneath – either by lifting the arm rest, or sliding the cup holders back towards them. It’s a nifty solution that allows for that little bit of extra storage space.
While the interior may be thoughtfully designed, the 8-inch infotainment system lacks the refinement found in the rest of the cabin. The system is speedy and loads menus quickly, but the layout of the menus, general similarity of icons, and the spacing of the text make the entire system difficult to decipher when at speed. It’s not all bad news though as there are some good points. I was particularly fond of the ability to drag and drop frequently used icons to the bottom “dock” a la Apple’s iOS.
These tiny niggles notwithstanding, the 200S is packed to the brim with some of the latest and greatest features. My tester came with $6,070 worth of options, which more or less puts it in fully loaded territory. The only thing missing is a sunroof. The $795 comfort group offers dual zone temperature control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, backup camera, and a heated steering wheel (heated seats come standard in 200S). That’s a staggering amount of features shoved into a very cheap package.
The Uconnect package ($1,700) rounds out the tech side of things with GPS navigation and a 7-inch customizable instrument cluster display. Those not interested in the navigation package can still opt for the $495 blind spot and rear cross-path detection.
Chrysler has done a great job with their optional equipment choices as the car can be built with a lot of the key features without adding navigation, satellite radio or other unwanted features. The only weird bit is the Sun & Sound Group ($1,495) that comes with an upgraded 9-speaker system and a panoramic sunroof. C’mon Chrysler, it’s 2015. Why isn’t a sunroof standard by now?
At an as tested price of $40,265 before destination fees, it’s certainly a lot of coin to ask, especially when you consider that Chrysler’s Japanese rivals can be had fully loaded for well under $40,000. But let’s not forget the class-leading Pentastar V6 under the hood of the 200S. There’s 295 hp to play with which crushes the competition, and – wait for it – it sounds absolutely stunning.
The V6 lets out a growl that’s incredibly exotic. It’s intoxicating how good it sounds. The Pentastar V6 reminds me dearly of the 3.0L twin-turbo V6 hidden within the Maserati Ghibli. Sure it doesn’t sound as good, nor is it as loud, but the tone of the exhaust is very reminiscent of the Italian’s. Keep the revs above 3,000 rpm and you’re greeted with something that’s unheard of (literally) in the segment.
Boom, there it is, cats out the bag. The reason for my crummy fuel mileage all week isn’t really the car’s fault, unless you can somehow put the blame on the car sounding so good. I've just been hooning it over and over again to conjure up that melodious soundtrack.
As mentioned earlier, the S moniker affixed to the end of the 200 doesn’t make this a road hugging sports car. It’s still a family sedan at the end of the day and should be driven like one. Acceleration is smooth, and catching up to traffic is a breeze. The suspension is well tuned to eat up the bumps without being too gruff either.
The car feels confident prowling through the city and the 9-speed automatic mated to the V6 behaves well too. Highway performance is a different story though; the ninth cog is always hesitant to engage unless you force it by switching to the Sport mode and shifting into ninth with the paddle shifters (or you cruised in excess of 120 km/h). On the subject of which, felt as mushy as the gear changes themselves.
The 9-speed was never meant to be a quick shifting transmission, but the paddles further accentuated how unrefined the entire transmission felt in manual mode. Gearing up felt more like the transmission was rolling into the next gear as opposed to snapping into the next cog. The entire process lacked decisiveness, but in a family sedan something’s got to give and I’d rather it be an unsporty transmission than anything else.
Chrysler has put in a lot of hard work to make the 200S truly competitive in the mid-size segment, and there are many standout features that make it an excellent choice. Although the asking price of $40,265 for this almost fully loaded example may seem high, one can’t forget that this includes an AWD system that will truly show its value when the cold slippery days of the Canadian winter rears its head. Chrysler is betting that you can’t put a premium on this peace of mind (actually, they are betting a $5,000 premium that they can). But at this price point, that’s encroaching BMW and Audi territory.
Despite that, most of the family sedan battle will take place on the lower end of the price spectrum, which is where the 200S has a solid footing as a competitor. Though the 200S may not trump the reigning champs, it’s a good second step for the company – maybe it should be a first step because I’m sure even Chrysler wants to forget that there was a previous generation 200 – that offers a bit of something for every shopper’s list.
The balls are back in Chrysler’s court and are poised to heat up the competition with future revisions, and if they keep going at their current pace, the boys in Detroit might just deliver.
型号 Model: 2016 Chrysler 200S AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Granite Crystal Metallic ($195)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $34,295
試車售價 Price as Tested: $40,265
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,742
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,885 / 1,871 / 1,491
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,575 (base vehicle)
引擎 Engine: 3.6L Pentastar V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 295 hp @ 6,350 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 9-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: MacPherson strut, dual reacting twin tube shock absorbers
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link independent dual reacting twin tube shock absorbers
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: 330 x 28 mm rotors with 60.0 mm single-piston floating caliper
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: 278 x 12 mm rotors with 38.0 single-piston aluminum caliper
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 12.8 / 8.1
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.0
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P235/40R19 XL BSW All-season tires ($495)